The Flowbee is an electrically powered vacuum cleaner attachment made for cutting hair. It was developed and filed for patent in 1986 by Rick E. Hunts, a San Diego, California carpenter. US patent 4679322 was granted in 1987 and the product marketed since 1988. Hunt initially sold the Flowbees out of his garage before finding success with live demonstrations at a county fair. The product was advertised as being capable of performing "hundreds of precision layered haircuts" in frequently aired late-night television infomercials. By 2000, two million Flowbees had been sold.
The Flowbee can also be used to groom dogs with long hair such as Maltese or Bichon Frisé with a special pet grooming attachment which is sold separately. Previously, a special green-colored Flowbee Pet Groomer variant of the device was available.
Over the years, the Flowbee device saw at least three revisions which can be identified by the shape and labeling of the cutting head ("Vac-u-cut", "Flowbee Int.", "Flowbee.com"). It is still being manufactured and sold via their factory direct website and various outlets across the Internet. The Flowbee factory is located in Flour Bluff, a suburb of Corpus Christi, Texas.
In popular culture
Reference to the Flowbee has been made in numerous films and television shows. It was featured on The Fourth Hour, hosted by Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere on GBTV, during the Infomercial Friday segment which aired on June 22, 2012. The Flowbee was given poor reviews by both hosts after the product was tested despite initial optimism by Burguiere. Gray quipped that "the problem seems to be that [the Flowbee] doesn't actually cut hair". It was also spoofed in the film Wayne's World.
Reference to the Flowbee was made in the American comedy series Glee. In Season 1, Episode 15 "The Power of Madonna" glee club director, Mr. Schuester told Sue Sylvester, "Oh, maybe you should try a new setting on your Flowbee, oh snap".